Body-upsizing vs. body-downsizing calories
You’ve probably heard the saying “A calorie is a calorie.” While scientifically correct, your body treats calories differently depending on their source. For example, if you were assigned to eat 2000 calories worth of heavily processed, sugary, salty and fatty foods, chances are you wouldn’t stop at 2000 calories. Your body would demand more because these foods trigger your brain to want more and more. In other words, these foods are designed to make you want to overeat them!
On the other hand, if you were asked to eat a 2000-calorie diet full of wholesome, nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, oils, fish, oats and barley, you would most likely feel very satisfied (and may even leave food on your plate too!)
Body-downsizing calories promote feelings of satiety—otherwise known as fullness. When you eat down-sizing foods, your body rewards you with:
- A boost in both physical and mental energy
- Feelings of fullness lasting hours after your meal
- Better health for years to come due to the array of disease fighting properties found in most down-sizing foods
Take a look at the following two tables. The first one displays body-downsizing calories and the other, body-upsizing calories. When over-consumed, body-upsizing calories take the place of more nutritious body-downsizing calories. So as you can see, it’s not only what you are eating, but also what you’re not eating that’s keeping those stubborn extra pounds on your body!
Whole grains (oatmeal, brown rice, barley, etc.)
Lean proteins: eggs, cottage cheese, poultry, fish, tofu, edamame
Healthy fats: avocado, nuts, nut butters, oils, olives
Dairy: low-fat milk and yogurt, cheese
Fluids: water, green or black tea, coffee
Alcohol: hard liquor, wine, beer, mixed drinks
Flavored water (artificially sweetened)
Iced or hot tea (regular and diet)
Pancakes with syrup
Pastry, cookies, cakes and other sweets
Pudding (regular and artificially sweetened)
Soda (regular and diet)
Sugar-bombed coffee beverages
Sugary, low-fiber breakfast cereals
Body-upsizing calories have some things in common. Typically they come from foods that:
- Trigger you to eat more and more (i.e. potato chips, M&M’s)
While a handful of potato chips or M&M’s causes no harm, they are very easy to overeat if you aren’t careful!
- Have a very low satiety-factor
In fact, you will most likely feel as if you haven’t eaten anything at all or feel empty and unsatisfied.
- Are usually rich in added sugar, sodium, fat or artificial sweeteners
- Are typically low in fiber, vitamins and minerals
- May appear to be healthy choices
Please understand that by no means am I advising you to avoid these foods—just be smart and proceed with caution! Proceed with a plan. Your plan should be to add these foods to your list of Soul Foods and enjoy them modestly.
The bottom line: It only takes 3500 extra calories to gain a pound of body fat. It doesn’t take long to rack up those calories either—especially if they are upsizing-calories. Not only are they empty calories, but they also invite you to eat more. Again, proceed with a plan!
BONUS: Click here for the healthy one-day sample meal plan that I promised you last week!